Think you have what it takes to be a great leader but feel your "title" is holding you back? Brimming with ideas but aren't being given a platform to speak up during meetings? Tired of only being taken seriously when it's time to do a coffee-run?
Good news--just because you aren't a top level exec doesn't mean your skills aren't needed to help move the enterprise forward--it just means you are going to have to be a bit more strategic when it comes to being heard and making progress.
There are many advantages of having access to leadership throughout the enterprise including increased creativity and diversity, and better-quality decision-making. Below you will find a list of ways to help you start leading when you aren't already an in-front exec.
1. Understand the cultural/political dynamics of the organization.
Don't run the risk of being seen as an opinionated jerk. Instead, spend some time scoping out signs that "leading from within" is encouraged and accepted.
2. Know your leadership style.
Your place of authority comes from your natural leadership style. Don't know your leadership style? Take the quiz to find out here.
3. Match the issue to your style.
Focus on issues that match your leadership style; those that you have a heightened attraction to.
4. Watch for vacuums, blockages, on and off ramps.
Don't just dive in. Learn to look for opportunities to make such contributions such as by filling a vacuum, removing a blockage, or creating an on or off ramp.
Lead from within only if you are doing so in the spirit of contribution. "Here is something I'm giving to the team to help us move forward."
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